Sunday, July 12, 2009

Clapping in Church

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI): "Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment."

Pope St. Pius X: "It is not fitting that the servant be applauded in His Masters House".

Hab. 2:20: "But the Lord is in His holy temple, silence before Him, all the earth!"

Zeph. 1:7: "Silence in the presence of the Lord your God!"

Cardinal Francis Arinze is prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome. When His Eminence speaks about the liturgy, our ears should perk up and listen. He stated that “…when we come to Mass we don’t come to clap. We don’t come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.” [Adoremus Bulletin; Vol. IX, no.7, Oct. 2003]

I wanted to give some food for thought on what currently goes on in Catholic Churches. We clap for anything nowadays. Boy scouts, the choir or the newly married couple. The question is WHY?

What is our reason for going to Mass?

To worship God.

What is the Mass?

The Mass as "Unbloody Sacrifice":

Very early on, the Church saw the Mass as a mystical reality in which the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is renewed. Responding to Protestant sects who denied that the Eucharist is anything more than a memorial, the Council of Trent (1545-63) declared that "The same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner" in the Mass.

This does not mean, as some critics of Catholicism claim, that the Church teaches that, in the Mass, we sacrifice Christ again. Rather, the original sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is presented to us once more.


The Mass is us standing once again at Calvary, watching the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.
Why during such an awesome moment would you want to pull your gaze from Christ to focus on anyone or anything else? Why would you desire to clap at such an occasion?

My father in law has a saying : "People more attention pay to what you do than what you say"

If a non Catholic would walk in to our Church and see us applauding any tom, Dick or Harry for their accomplishments would they think that we TRULY believe that Jesus Christ is present in our Tabernacles? If as Catholics we TRULY believed that Christ was present in the tabernacle would we turn our attention away from that to clap for the newly married? or the boy scouts? the Choir? or our local softball team?

We have to remember that as Catholics we are always preaching our beliefs to others......and as St Franics said:

“Preach the gospel at all times.
If necessary, use words.”
Saint Francis of Assisi

When my husband and I got married we got someone before the Mass to inform the congregation that there was to be NO clapping at Mass. Once we got to the reception, they announced Mr and Mrs Grant Gil and the place went nuts with applause, in the proper place and at the proper time.

We as Catholics need to remember that everything has meaning and we need to keep God the center and focus of the Mass, we are secondary.

God Bless!